Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Art School Studies

Canceling out the whites,
Which in watercolor meant
The tooth of the paper

Or cold-pressed board
On which the washes took shape.
Even for the nebulous sky.

You worked with brushes,
An elephant-ear sponge,
The mastic you rubbed off

Afterwards, leaving
What you wanted left
Untouched: cloud or caustic

Or the vase into which
You could then trace veins
Of crackle, fine as the sable-

Haired tip of your brush.
Even the runnels of sunlight
On that figure in her tub.

Water in a glitter of water.
Transparent washes
That brought all of it to light.


She was naked, then nude,
On that improvised dais.
It could have been a throne,

Given her indifference
Toward us and the drawings
On which we worked—

Neutral gray paper penciled
White with highlights, black
With overlapping shadows—

The flesh posed motionless
In its clefts and folds,
Or put on hold

As she crossed the room,
Pausing, like a sequence
Shot by Muybridge.

A woman alone
With her thoughts for hours,
Ringed by renderings

That could have been forms
Of tribute, fashioned
As they were in her image.  

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